Western Europe Battles Burning Heat

Meteorological authorities in Western European countries have raised their highest warnings for heat as the scorching weather came into full damage early this week.

An helicopter helping to put out forest fires in Portugal. (Image courtesy of Alex Zea and Europa Press.)

Highs of 40°C or hotter have already been recorded or forecast in the region. On Saturday, Spain recorded as high as 45.7°C (114°F.) In its neighbor Portugal, the mercury hit 47°C (117°F) last week before cooling down the next few days. The intense heat and massive fires in the Iberian countries worried authorities as tens of thousand hectares of land blazed in both countries; more than a thousand heat-related deaths have been recorded in Spain and more than 200 in Portugal.

North of the Peninsula, Metéo France issued heat warnings in all but one department in Corsica with red warnings in 17 Western departments. On Sunday, 40°C were recorded in the French Departments of Landes, Gironde, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Lot, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The agency forecast the heat to intensify on Monday and subside starting Tuesday as it moves across the Channel into the British Isles.

The latest warnings over the UK, courtesy of the Met Office.

The UK Met Office issued its first ever Red Heat Warning on Friday ahead of the forecast highs of 40°C in parts of England. Amber Heat Warnings are also in place in parts of Wales and Scotland. UK Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen said “there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40°C and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached.” UK’s high currently stands at 38.7 recorded on 25 July, 2019 in Cambridge. Meanwhile in Ireland, the entire country is under Yellow Heat Warning until Tuesday as highs of 32°C are forecast before subsiding starting Wednesday.

Authorities within the agencies across the region said that as these phenomena are normal part of climatological patterns; the frequency, duration, and intensity of heat waves across the region has increased due to climate change. A recent UK Met Office study found that summers which see days above 40°C somewhere in the UK have a return time of 100-300 years at present, even with current pledges on emissions reductions this can decrease to 15 years by 2100.

We advise you to keep cool throughout the duration of the heat wave, adhere to the local authorities’ notices, and get updates on social media from our regional branches at Force Thirteen UK & Ireland and Europe. The UK & Ireland team are also running an automated stream showing the current situation in the UK, which you can watch here:

 

 

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